What does it mean to be the light or to be salt? I am not talking about a light bulb or the white crystals in the shaker on your table. What did Jesus mean in the sermon on the mount when he said we are to be salt and the light? This was the question from church Sunday. I pondered this. I am not a prestigious person in the church, I have not given great sums of money to ministry in fact, I have a time or two been the recipient of benevolence. So can I be salt or light?
Yes! It may be the smile I give someone in passing that needed the encouragement. It may be the compliment I gave to stranger who was down on herself. It may be the door I opened for the lonely person who was thrilled have someone notice her. It may be the recovering addict I went to coffee with not caring what others thought. Or is it the child that I bent down to notice in the store. Maybe it was the stranger I met and had a conversation with who was so desperate for someone to listen. Or the neighbor whose child I babysat when they were in a pinch. They are all over. People with needs, hungry for someone to notice them, listen to them, affirm them. So often I respond without giving a thought. Oh, I long to have money to give gifts and random monetary blessings, but maybe my salt and my light comes in the form of compassion and giving to others in a different way. Whose to say what is important. What did Jesus give? His interactions with people most often involved teaching, time spent, or healing. Should I not do as Jesus did?
I am salt. I am light.
Matthew 6:1-4 warns us against doing things for show. When these acts are done purposefully and talked about, you are not rewarded. So many people do “good acts” because they want to be a good Christian. They want others in the church to see that they are a good Christian. We are actually warned against this. Don’t get me wrong, if you are not used to being generous or serving other people, you may have to think about it and maybe even have an accountability partner for a while, but eventually, you should do it automatically. When God is living in you and through you, you will be attuned to other people so much that you will see their needs and spontaneously act before you look around to see who will notice or do it through the church so you “get credit for it.” There is nothing wrong with volunteering at the church or even being employed by the church, but we should be spontaneously participating in benevolent acts if Christ is real in our lives.